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A Challenge! 

By N. Bukharin. 

{Translated from the Russian by Moissaye J. Olgin) 

It is now the thirteenth year since the toiling masses of 
the Soviet land, with the workers vanguard in the front line, 
have been strenuously defending the red frontiers and build- 
ing a new life. At the great divide, which the heroic prole- 
tarian army is now crossing in a terrific strain the masses 
of city and village are making immense sacrifices: the last 
pennies are being spent on the feverish, impetuous building 
program; unbelievable efforts are being made to lay down 
for future centuries the most powerful, rock-bottom founda- 
tion of the gigantic and harmonious structure of Commun- 
ism: men and women, who having thrown off the power of 
landlords and the power of capital, prefer to suffer dire need 
ai present, giving away the precious juices of their lives 
today, if only they can substitute for, the antiquated, delapi- 
dated uncouth and moth-eaten technique of wooden imple- 
ments a splendid metallic system of machines with which 
tomorrow it will be easier to work, with which it will be 
possible to produce infinitely more, infinitely better, to live a 
cleaner, sunnier, and more reasoned life. And just now, 
when the toiling masses, in a tremendous effort, straining 
all their muscles to the utmost, are modeling the heavy blocks 
of their present, out of which they build their future ; when, 
notwithstanding partial failures and breaches in the front, 
they have moved far ahead in the all-absorbing work; just 
now the mad bacchanal of our enemies abroad has been let 
loose. Roman cardinals and Georgian counterfeiters ; gen- 
erals of various staffs and Popes of various gods and 
churches; English lords and French usurers; American 
moneybags and Bishops of the Anglican church; Washing- 
ton Senators and Swedish dukes; professors and courtesans: 
police sleuths and the Holy Pope of Rome himself, the vicar 
of the apostles and of God, the infallible prince of the 
church— all of them preach a "true spiritual crusade of civ- 
ilization against barbarism," as the organ of the fascist cut- 


throats The Popolo di Roma sanctimoniously declares with 
a bestial smacking of lips. How well it becames the fascists, 
to assume that noble pose ! 

411 this counter-revolutionary cancan; all this cannibal- 
istic howl of lay and church hyenas, accompanied by the 
jingle of spurs, the clanking of sabres, and the tinkle of 
censors, is a "moral" preparation for an attack on the U. S. 
S R. ' Arise against the Bolshevik land, ye princes, kings 
and lords ! Out with the cash, ye enlightened bankers and 
industrialists ! Prepare the dynamite, ye master of the mili- 
tary craft! The counterfeiters are in danger! Oil is in 
danger! The markets are in danger 1 Capitalist property 
is in danger! God is in danger! 

Honorable ladies and honorable gentlemen ! You will not 
frighten us with your howl. And do not blame us if we un- 
cover before the masses of the people your real face and the 
brutal glint of your rapacious teeth. You do not wish to 
remove the very pleasant masks from your far-from pleas- 
ant faces ? Then do not complain if we tear them off and 
if (where the mask has stuck) your well-cared- for skin will 

suffer in spots. 

Z * * * 

In commenting upon the manifesto of Holy Pious, a mis- 
erable sheet bearing the name of Rigasche Rundschau l char- 
acterizes this foolishly talkative and at the same time mili- 
tary document as the "long looked- for great offensive of the 
Catholic Church against heathen Bolshevism and Bolshevik 
Russia." 3 The offensive was started with a general attack 
along the whole front by this very declaration of war, al- 
though the feeble hand of the militant pontiff was moved b> 
powers far more potent than the living archeological Roman 
rarity taken by itself'. The most Christian father, don't 
vou see, is deeply aggrieved over the "persecution of re- 
ligion" in the U. S. $\ R. He reminds us that as early as 
1922, before the Genoa Conference, he proposed to all pow- 
ers there represented to confront the Soviet Government 
with a general declaration, with an ultimatum to the effect 

iNo. 33, February 10, 1930. 

2 Lang erwartde grbisi Offensive der KatkoUschcn Kirche gegen den 
fu-idwschen Bohchezvismus tmd gegen bolscheujistsches Russland. 

^^^^^^™ ... i.. , i i p p j i . il i ipi i ii"! ^rrB i raiw^ ^ n W M f J Ij I MUWp i 


that it would 'be recognized only under conditions oi^rp. 
soect for the conscience, the freedom of worship and the 
freedom of church property" ("il Hspetto delle con-scxenze, 
Id liberta dei culti edei beni delta chiesa" s) . Alas, the pow- 
ers have not harkened to me, he mourns. They preterred 
the earthly to the heavenly. And now, he says, the hour of 
retribution has come. Assiduously picking up from the 
pages of the malicious yellbw'press the invented bloody ^hor- 
rors with which the newspaper scoundrels feed their Philis- 
tine herds ad nauseam, the Pope now draws the balance 
sheets blessing; his warriors, cursing the "persecutors of re- 
ligion" and rising to veritably dizzy heights of. hysterical 
pathos. Why shouldn't" he ! "The organizers of the atheist 
campaign and of the anti-religious front," he says, wish 
first of all, to pervert the youth {pervertier la gioventa), us- 
ing its innocence and its lack of information." Instead of 
educating the youth in the spirit of science and civilization, 
in the spirit of honesty and justice, which "cannot thrive and 
blossom without religion," these bandits organize the youth 
in godless associations spreading "moral, cultural and even 
economic decadence," conducting an anti-humane propa- 
ganda, infecting it with all the vices, with pernicious mate- 
rialism, forcing children to report on their fathers, organiz- 
ing blasphemous carnivals, compelling men and women to 
denounce their religion under threat of being deprived of 
bread cards, dwellings, and so on and so forth. 

Here the Pope's fantasy makes a really divine sweep: he 
invents such horrors as would "make your hair stand up." 
The logical result of all this smeariness, the bottom line of 
the frightful document, is a loud appeal supposed to soUnd 
like the trumpet call of the apocalyptic archangel, the archi- 
strategus, the warrior, the judge, who will actually "bust 
up" this nest of materialistic infection, this red monster of a 
country where there are neither kings nor princes, and where 
even the kulkas feel as if they Were on hot coals. 

Following the rules of European civilization, we shall first 
of all request the papal gentleman to present his documents 

*StaiHpi } February 9, 1930. 


so that his identity may be established^ Your papers, mon- 
seignor, your historical papers? 

At the fountain-head of papal magnificence, which has 
passed through various phases of development, there is to 
be found a series of dirty and rascally forgeries. Under 
Pope Stephanus II, King Pippin the Short, for military aid 
rendered by the Prince of the Church against the Lom- 
bards, gave him the "papal territory." Immediately a forged 
document was contrived which transformed this transaction, 
both commercial and bloody, into a "gift of Constantine the 
Great." This is as far as the question of the origin of papal 
landed property is concerned. In the middle of the ninth 
century a bundle of forged documents made its appearance, 
and was circulated with the greatest ardour, including the 
so-called "pseudo-Isidore's decretals/ Those were collec- 
tions of forged decisions which asserted that the Pope was 
no more nor less than the "head of the whole world" (Caput 
iotius orbis). The brazen forgery was exposed as a forgery. 
In the history of' the papacy, however, it is a "sacred doc- 
ument. " This is as far as the question of the historical pass- 
port of the papal gentleman is concerned. 

Thus, at the very, origin of papal existence, there is blood 
and filth , war and forgery, which cast their lurid light over 
all the subsequent development of this black institution. 

The papacy, whose, herald is the most reverend warrior 
of the Holy See, possesses not only timely documents pulsat-, 
ing with current problems. The holy fathers have also 
created for themselves an all-embracing scholastic theory, 
whose rust-eaten iron hoops cramp the unhappy brains of 
all servitors of the Catholic Church. This theory was for- 
mulated as early as the end of the thirteenth century by the 
famous Thomas Aquinas, who wrote the "Encyclopedia of 
Theology" ("Sumtna theologize"). Even in the encyclical 
of Pope Leo XIII, dated August 4th, 1879, the study of 
Thomas Aquinas was demanded as a duty of the servitors 
of the Church. This is the most fully elaborated theoretical 
program of papacy. What, then, do we find in this learned 
encyclopedia on the subject of tolerance, freedom, of con- 
science and other lovely things which the now living Pius 
boasts ? "Heresy is a sin for which the guilty one must not 
only be excommunicated from the church, but also di-m- 


mated from this world by death." This is the chief com- 
mandment of papacy. Of course, the arms of the popes 
have now been shortened ; their former grandeur has petered 
out; their peacock's train has been plucked by old Dame 
History quite considerably. But when this dried-up vampire 
again tries to spread its talons, when it leans on the still 
powerful forces of the imperialist murders; when it puts 
on the appearance of tolerance, we must recall its execution- 
ist commandment: a heretic (f. e. he who is not a slave of 
the Pope) must be "eliminated from this world by death!'* 

Here, as elsewhere, the **deed" preceded the "word." It 
seems that the memory of Pope Pius XI becomes con- 
veniently blank when dealing with the "theory and practice" 
of the Holy See itself. Only a sanctimonious liar, shot 
through with hypocrisy from the top of his head to the tips 
of his toes, can step forth with at once oily and slanderous 
missives like the latest production of the Pope when he, him- 
self, drags behind his back a burden of monstrous crimes: 
all this crunching of bones, moaning of the agonized, odor 
of burning human flesh, stench and smoke of the pyres, 
groans of the tortured, they will cry to heaven for ever and 
ever! They will not escape the implacable historic judg- 
ment — all these Popes, with their inquisition, their Jesuits, 
their "crusades," the savage mass extermination of the "her- 
etics," their greed, .perversity, venality, intrigues — no, they 
will not escape! 

Your princely holiness ! Won't you please recall the deci- 
sion of your Rheims Council of 1157, when, following the 
"most humane," "most tolerant," "most Christian" rule, 
with all due "respect to freedom of conscience," the faces 
of the heretics were to be branded with hot irons f Won't 
you please recall a similar decision of your most holy 'Coun- 
cil of Oxford of 1 1 66? Won't you recall the decisions of 
the Lateran Council of n 78, when a "crusade" was pro- 
claimed (in 11S1) against all the "enemies of the church" 
and when the papal beast absolved the people of all sins for 
two years to come for the mass extermination of the "her- 
etics"? Won't you recall the so-called "Eta'blissements" of 
Ludwig the Holy (1270) with the proviso condemning "her- 
etics" to be burned alive? Won't you recall the legislation 
of King Frederick II (Edicts of 1220-1239) based on the 


decisions of the Lateran Council, a legislation which _ out- 
lawed the heretics, which condemned all "accomplices," 
"defenders" and "interceders" to life-long exile, and which 
subjected their property to confiscation and their houses to 
barbarous destruction? Won't you recall the decision of 
the Narbonne Council of 1229, and of 1 the Albi Council, 
according to which all boys above fourteen and all girls 
above twelve were obliged to inform on each and every one, 
[It is from here, holy Father, that your slanderous lies 
about the Soviet land and our youth spring!) Won't you 
recall, you hypocritical old fellow, the decisions of the •.Nar- 
bonne Council of 1244, according to which a lay. judge, 
delaying the execution of a heretic, was himself liable to 
execution? Won't you recall the decision of the Constance 
Council (1418), which burned John Huss and which decided 
to "punish with fire," i, e. to burn at the stake, all the Huss- 
ites ( "puniantur ad ignem").! 

The Catholic Church traversed the length and breadth of 
almost all of Europe with fire and sword. It, moreover, 
spread its tentacles over the whole world; it swept like a 
swarm of voracious locusts, like an instigator of. colonial' 
bestialities, like a veritable murderer of peoples, the more 
hideous because it covered up the bloody orgies of' trading 
capital with the words "love and mercy." Why. such 
malicious militancy? The explanation is very simple. The 
most holy fathers fought with fire and sword against the 
"heresy" because — to use the expression of a very moderate 
and very well-meaning historian of the Inquisition, not a 
Bolshevik by any means, but a virtuous American book- 
seller, Henry Charles Lea— "the. ruling classes, with a few 
insignificant exceptions, took almost no part in the origin 
of heresy. 1 "* The heretics came from the lower strata of 
the population; from among the peasants, the artisans, the 
journeymen, the poor. The best, most courageous, and 
most noble representatives of these strata sometimes almost 
touched upon Communist ideas ; they went bravely to the 
stake, and their heroic death will always shine as a bright 
torch for true, real humanity. On the other hand, the papal 

^Henry Charles Lea, A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages. 
Quotation re-translated from Russian. 


jackals, from the petty servants of the Inquisition, the spies, 
the -handy men, the informers, the "bravi," to the "great 
Inquisitors" and "generals" of the Jesuit order, the bishops 
and the popes themselves, will remain in the hearts of' hu- 
manity as a hideous remembrance of the bestiality of historic 
barbarism. It is not in vain that one of the largest "heretic" 
sects was called "Cathars" ("the pure ones"), "good peo- 
ple" ("boni homines"), whereas the papal sleuths of all 
ranks ' were called "Cazzagazzari" ("hunters after the 

Cathars")' . , 

The "holy Inquisition/' this powerful instrument m the 

hands of the popes, whose very name has become a hateful 
word of abuse, developed an elaborate system of moral and 
physical torture: "trial by water," the rack, the quartering, 
the burning at the stake (auto da fe) ; the encircling of the 
victim's neck with a bag of powder (technical perfection 
after the invention of powder), i. e. the combination of the 
stake and the explosion; the iron, steel and wooden contrap- 
tions required for this purpose — what a gloomy and bloody 
depravity breathes from all these pious deeds of the humble 
fathers of the Church! And now the Pope steps forth as 
a fighter for the "freedom of conscience." , Now he sheds 
crocodile tears over the non-existent atrocities in ."Russia," 
while every stone of the Roman pavements, the fields and 
the cities of France, Spain, Italy, Germany and a series of 
other places are saturated with the blood that was shed by 
the popes, blackened by the smoke of the pyres and sub- 
merged in the moral stupor created by the poisonous vapors 
of the Catholic Church! Without blushing to the very roots 
of his hair, the Pope dares to defend "culture and civiliza- 
tion," to defend science— he, the commander and the pontiff 
of an organization that burned Giordano Bruno at the 
stake, that tortured Campanula to death, that put the great 
Galileo behind iron bars, that throttled everything and every- 
body standing in the way of Roman domination ! 

The Jesuit order, this select cohort of the "militant 
church" ("ecclesiae militantis"), was, after the Inquisition, 
the most important instrument of papal policy. It crept in 
everywhere, from the government to the schools. At one 
time it spread its behind-the-scenes power over all the coun- 
tries of the world. : But hasn't the very nmne "Jesuit" 


5 I-L Boehmer, The Jesuits, p- 163 Russian edition of 1913 (There is a 
"revised' English translation published by the Castle Press in Philadelphia 
(1928) from which the above sentence was omitted, — Translator. 

become a word of shame, an abusive appellation, a despised 
name? A historian of Jesuitism, a man quite benevolently 
disposed towards it, Mr. H. Boehmer, discloses the social 
essence of the order when he says: "Its ranks begin to be 
filled almost exclusively with representatives of the aristoc- 
racy of power, wealth and education; it is natural that 
among those select (N. B.!) elements of society the order 
finds its main support . . . The people do not want it any- 
where, although, wherever the order has already rooted 
itself', they easily allow themselves to be kept in swaddling 
clothes." 6 These "swaddling clothes" were often of such 
a nature that the sons of the people were lifted to the 
ceiling on pulleys, with limbs pulled apart ; the "select ele- 
ments of society," the "aristocracy of power, wealth and 
education " know how to deal with the "mob" ! But while 
the "Society of Jesus," in its' relations to the "outside 
world," was marching hand in hand with the "most holy 
Inquisition,' marking the limits of its religious tolerance 
by burning the "heretics" at the stake, it developed at the 
hands of its theoreticians, in the first place its founder, 
Ignatius Loyola, a peculiar theory of internal relations. 
These theoreticians elevated the very ideology of prostitution 
and unprincipled servility to the heights of an ideological 
principle. They built up an organization whose members 
considered the repudiation of their own principles as thetr 
highest virtue and their, so to speak, moral duty. It has been 
correctly said that there isn't a meanness in the world which 
would not find for itself an ideological justification. The 
king of the Jesuits, Loyola, developed a whole theory of 
subordination, of "cadaver discipline" ; every member of the 
order was supposed to obey his siiperior "like a corpse which 
could be turned in all directions/ 3 like a stick which follows 
every movement, like a ball of wax which could be changed 
and "extended in all directions." , . . This corpse is charac- 
terized by three degrees of perfection: subordination by 
action, subordination of the will, subordination of the intel- 
lect. When the last degree is reached, when the man sub- 

-- . ,.:.■ .:. . 



stitutes naked subordination for intellect, renouncing all his 
convictions, then you have a hundred per cent Jesuit. This 
universal "cadaverization," as the organizational and ideolog- 
ical principle of the order, 'brought about a situation where 
even the Jesuits themselves began to revolt. By the end of 
the sixteenth century, one of the theoreticians of this revolt, 
Padre Juan Mariana, had the following to say in his book, 
On the Ailments of the Society of Jesus, about the in- 
ternal situation of' the order : "The monarchy (meaning 
the monarchy inside the order N. B.) destroys us, not be- 
cause it is a monarchy* but because it is not sufficiently 
limited. It is a mad boar which devastates everything in 
its way/ None the: less, the "mad boar" continued its devas- 
tating work, for, with few exceptions, there was sitting on 
the .papal throne another "mad boar" with fangs even larger 
than those of the " praepositus generalise of the Jesuit order ! 
No wonder that, under the rule of such "unprincipled prin- 
iciples," deception, trickery, fraud, use of dagger, poison, 
perfidy, the refined system of. lies called casuistry, sadistic 
tortures at hearings, double-dealing — all these and many 
other things, blossomed luxuriantly in the vineyards of the 

This spiritual prostitution, this ideology of perfidious cas- 
tratoes and homosexual! sts, this filth, you, holy Pius, call 
"culture and civilization"? 

It is the Bolsheviks, don't you see* who demoralized the 
youth when they fight the idea that wine is transformed into 
God's blood to be sipped from golden bowls after one has 
tasted of God's flesh, obtained in like manner from bread. 

It is the Bolsheviks who fight against science when they » 
instead of the mysteries of the transformation of bread and 
wine into blood and flesh, insist on the periodical system 
of Mendeleyev or the theory of electrons. 

And it is, apparently, the Roman popes and inquisitors 
who are very much concerned about science when they burn 
the Brunos. 

It is the Bolsheviks who demoralize the youth when they 
rouse it to fight against medieval superstition. And it is 
the Roman popes and the Jesuits who "educate" the youth 
through general cadaverization and the doctrine of the infal- 
libility of the Roman dalai-lamas. Isn't it so, beatific old 



fellow? Isn't it so, oh, ye mummy- on the throne, ye dry 
rot ^f our time, still infecting the world -with your stinking 

P ThrM«s inflict vices upon the youth , Their chief 
-vice" is materialism, while honesty and justice cannot thrive 
without religion. This is how the papa l'*****^ 
■We have already seen what the "honesty and justice ot 
the%apal Curia is worth. But it is not good for ?ms to 
nenSon vices. For history cannot record a "story" more 
Ml of vice than the "story" of the respected Roman shep- 
herds. Here, too, gentleman accuser, you will be paid back 

* h mmmi^i our journey through this .realm with a few 
general ideas advanced Iby papal theory We *us encounter 
■the theory of the "treasury of good deeds ( thesauri 
bonorum operumT) of Christ and. his saints A truly charm- 
ing theory, indeed. Christ and his saints .have accumula ed 
a heap of good deeds the key to which is m the «||fe 
Pope. The Pope, it appears, is in possession of a perpetual 
current account: he values thesurntotal of the : good deeds 
in gold and balances them with the sins of- the flock, also 
valued in gold .but with the minus sign. If the sinner 
wishes to etneel his sins, he pays the Pope a fee of so and 
so many ducats, and for this price the Pope dis penses from 
the "treasury" a corresponding amount of good deeds which 
cancel the culprit's sins. This commercial transaction, where 
the ?ood deeds of Christ are being weighed on the scales 
of an avaricious usurer, and where the Pope plays the part 
of an enterprising dealer/expressed itself m the widespread 
practice of the so-called indulgences— documents abso vmg 
sins The Pope's clerks and agents trade in these docu- 
ments. Central and local offices, traveling agents, hideous 
commercial dealings, robberies, indulgences of the second 
order, forged indulgences, speculation— isnt this one of the 
most outrageous of all outrageous pictures?. And isnt this 
the work of the Why papal hands? Chnsts' deeds were 
being sold. The rich bought themselves free of sms. 
Bishoos' posts were being sold. Even the "mysteries, the 
most mystol, the most *hoiy» in the Christian cult were 
being sold. Are vou not acquainted, oh holy man, with the 
institution of "ablato," a fee without which the believer at 



one time could have no communion? Are you not ac- 
quainted with the expression of Peter Cantor } who said that 
the priests were worse than Judas Iscariot, who sold Christ's 
body for thirty pieces of silver, for, as he said: "They sell 
him thirty times a day . . . for one silver piece"? Are you 
not acquainted with the simony? Have you forgotten about 
the neptism, the practice of appointing as bishops the pope's 
relatives, depraved and perverted youngsters, the laughing 
stock of the streets, appointed only because they were the 
dbjects of the pope's licentious desires? Do you not know 
that it was papal Rome which was the breeding ground of 
prostitution and that, to cite one instance, the 1490 statistics, 
counted among one hundred thousand inhabitants of the city 
something like seven thousand "puellae publicae" ("public 
girls") ? Wasn't it in papal Avignon that the courtesan, the 
type of the refined court prostitute, made her appearance? 
Wasn't it the papal court in Avignon that was spoken of as 
having "academies des femmes amiables" (" academies of 
lovable women"), of women whose names are known to his- 
torians? Do you not know the hired cocottes, who admin- 
istered to the refined needs of the Popes, Sixtus IV, Alex- 
ander VI and Leo X? Was it not the holy father Paulus II 
(1464- 147 1 ) who introduced the bacchanal as a papal court 
custom? Have you not heard anything about the famous 
Later an carnival "of Pope Leo X.on April nth, 151 3, when 
one day only, cost one hundred thousand ducats, when all 
self-indulgence, all arts, all pleasures, all vices, all sensuality, 
all luxury, were mobilized for the holy (ha, ha, ha!) prince 
of the church? 8 Has anybody repudiated the fiery lines of 
the famous contemporary, the humanist, ZJlrkh von Hutten, 
who wrote in his "Vadiscus, or the Roman Trinity" : 

"Vadiscus added: Three things are often to be met with 
in Rome: sensuous pleasures, luxurious raiments, and 

Ernhold: Yes! All these things are in vogue there. In 
Rome, however, they not only indulge in sensuous pleasures, 
but they also strive to vary them, to invent unusual, even 
monstrous, ways of attaining pleasure, so that the ancient 
spintriae are nothing in comparison with them. As a matter 

c Weiner Lombart, Luxus and Kapitalismus. 


of fact, they look with contempt on the simple, sensuous 
pleasures, calling them, peasant-like and crude. This is why 
there are pleasures in Rome of which we are ashamed to 

"... Vadiscus says: This is why three things are in 
great abundance in Rome : antiques, poison, and ruins. To 
which I [L e. Hutten, N. B.] added: Three things have been 
banished from there: simplicity, moderation, and chastity. 
[There followed triads : Three things are being dealt with 
in Rome: Christ, priest's positions, and women. . . . Three 
things have a particularly high value in Rome : woman's 
beauty, excellent horses, and papal indulgences], 7 

Hutten then adds : "There are three things the idle in 
Rome occupy themselves with: walks, fornication, and 

"Ernhold: Indeed, they do nothing else there. For those 
who are not idle, those who plan, write, flatter, aspire, plead, 
are ibusy deceiving, lying, perjuring themselves, betraying, 
robbing, stealing, adulterating, seducing." 8 

And then especially about the popes themselves: 

"If they [the popes, N. B.] murder the soul, how can they 
be called the vicars of Christ ? Wherein do their institutions 
appear similar to the institutions of Christ? He once said, 
turning to Peter: 'Shepherd my Iambs/ and what do the 
popes do ? Do they not reduce to starvation the Christians 
who are exhausted by papal robbery ? Do they not skin 
them? When they shear their flock, do they not cut them 
to the flesh?" 9 

And finally, here is a general characteristic of the papal 

This church no doubt consists of thieves, sacrilegists, 
deceivers, notaries, bishops guilty of simony, and of those 
flattering the Roman high priest — it consists of such only. 
They [the popes N. B.] do not refuse lay power the way 
Peter did, but they wage land and sea wars for kingdoms 

7 Ulrich von Hutten, Collected Works (in German and Latin), Lelpsic, 
1925, Vol. V, Vadisens oder die romische Dreifaltig-keit, pp. 316 ff. 


and power, arousing the subjects against their rulers, shed- 
ding blood and poisoning the people. 10 

Such is the real, the actual face of the Holy See. But 
this picture is far from enumerating all the features of the 
moral and political physiognomy of papacy. 

The popes were, first of all, greedy and bloody conquerors, 
who shrank before no means for crushing their, enemies and 
half-friends. The history of papacy is the history of endless 
wars, conspiracies, diplomatic deceptions, perfidious treach- 
eries, secret murders, numberless pillaging expeditions. This 
feudal baron, prince, emperor, strove incessantly to enlarge 
his lands; the "holy slogans" of fighting for the Christian 
faith, fighting against heresies, fighting for the word of 
truth, etc., etc., were only an ugly shield hiding very pro- 
saic aims. The growing demands of the popes, the reaching 
out of their grabbing hands, was accompanied by a simul- 
taneous creation of ever new theories which claimed, "in true 
Christian spirit/' ever greater degrees of power for the 
Roman pontiff. The fight against heresy was accompanied 
by confiscations . . . in favor of the pope. The fight against 
the "enemy of the church" generally rounded out the pope's 
possessions. The fights against the princes Who fretted 
under the unusual avarice of the Holy See, extended the 
landed possessions of the pope in case of victory. The fight 
for the "holy land," the fight for colonies .(under the slogan 
of fighting for the Christian faith) widened the taxing area 
of the pope. All this was made law by the theory of the 
specifically privileged position of the Roman pontiff. Pil- 
laging, war, banditry, were smeared with the rich ointment 
of heavenly hliss, which feat could be easily accomplished 
in view of the fact that the keys to the little chest contain- 
ing that bliss was in the hands of the same holy father. 

Already Gregorius VII (1073- 1085) advanced the thesis 
that the pope is the ruler of the whole world. He also put 
that thesis into practice by compelling Henry IV after he 
had been excommunicated, to travel to Canossa to have his 
sins absolved. Innocentius III (1198-1216) concretized the 
thesis of Gregorius VII by putting the idea of papal greed 
for power into a formula saying that the lay kings were 



.papal vassals, whereas the pope, while not above our Lord 
Jesus Christ, was certainly above all the human race. Bom- ( 
facius VIII declared that the pope must hold in his hands 
not only the spiritual but also the worldly sword, i. e. he 
elevated war, as a method of Christian influence, to the 
height of a "principle/' If Pope Innocentius III had as- 
serted that the election of an emperor must depend "prin- 
cipialiter et finaliter" ("in principle and as a matter of final- 
ity") upon the Roman Curia, the pope at the Trent Council 
(1563) was placed above the world councils, and on July 
iSth, 1870, on the eve of the Paris Commune, at the thresh- 
old of the twentieth century, during the triumphal march 
of natural sciences, the dogma of the popes* infallibility was 
advanced ! True, this "dogma" was accepted at a time when 
the tenacious hands of the pope had already been three- 
quarters chopped off, but how characteristic are these greedy 
desires of the old fellows! It .must be remembered that 
they, the God anointed, turn into beasts as soon as the his- 
toric situation allows them to let out their talons* . . . Arch- 
bishop Peter of Blois (13th century) described the arch- 
bishop's judges as vipers "exceeding snakes and basilisks in 
malice." Hildeber o£ Manassa (cf. Lea, /. c.) declared 
about the papal dignitaries: "They comprehended like a 
stone; they judged like a log; they ignited like fires; they 
are shrewd like a fox; they are proud like an ox; they 
are voracious like a minotaur." 

Greedy, exceedingly ambitious and vain, the popes fought 
incessant wars not only against the "foreign" enemies and 
not only against the "heretics/* but also against their own 
vassals, the bishops. Moreover, there were periods in his- 
tory when several popes fought each other with the utmost 
cruelty, with fire and sword. Thus, by the end of the four- 
teenth century, there was elected in Rome one holy father, 
Urbanus VI, while in Avignon another by the name of 
Clement VI was elected; after this the institution of the 
one and only successor of Peter continued to exist in a split 
form. In 1409 the Pisa Council deposed both popes, Gre- 
gorys XII and Benedictus XIII, and elected a third, Alex- 
ander V, whose successor was Joannes XXIII. The Con- 
stantine Council deposed all three popes and elected 
Martinus V. The hideous squabbles, the monstrous pacts 



behind the scenes, led to a situation where once a clever 
woman became pope. 

There were among the popes not only plain criminals; 
there were past masters of filthy and bloody action; there 
were virtuosos of murdering from the ambush, virtuosos of 
perfidy and crime. Sixtus IV (i 471 -1484) deceived his 
allies, participated in secret murders, incited to wars, ex- 
communicated and executed enemies, persecuting them with 
a furious malice. Later his successor, Alexander IV, and 
then Alexander's son, Csesar Borgia, made everybody 
tremble. He was, according to the historian of 1 papacy, 
Ranke, "given up to his passions and deeply stained with 
blood." How Rome did tremble at his name! Csesar re- 
quired gold and possessed enemies: everynight the corpses 
of murdered men were found in the streets, yet, none 
dared to move; for who but might fear that his own turn 
would be next ? Those Whom violence could not reach were 
taken off by poison.*' 11 "On the death of distinguished men, 
people instantly suspected poisoning by the Pope." 12 Csesar 
Borgia killed his brother and drowned the corpse in the 
Tiber. He killed his brother-in-law ; he killed the favorite 
of his father who hid behind his cloak — he cut his throat 
'before the eyes of Alexander. There is no crime where 
Csesar Borgia did not leave record-breaking figures. 

And this monster, this beast worthy only of being put into 
an iron cage and exhibited in cities and towns as a cruel and 
malicious animal, is counted among the ranks of the glorious 
predecessors of Pius XI I 

Depraved and sensuous debauchees; sadistic murderers 
like Csesar Borgia; wily hunters after power like Sixtus 
IV; refined bon vivants to whom strangulation and rob- 
bery were only a pedestal for unheard of luxury in the most 
bizarre forms — like Leo X- — these were the men who deter- 
mined the moral {moral 7) physiognomy of the papacy. And 
now, pious Pius himself teaches us moral lessons, he appears 
as a defender of morality alleged to be trampled upon by 
the Bolsheviks. . . . 

Yes, we trample upon the ''morality" of the pope ! Our 

■ . 

11 LeopoJd iron Ranke, History of the Popes, Vol* I, p. 37, 



youth, in the first place its proletarian battalions, will do 
everything possible in order that the earth may never and 
nozvhere produce such poisonously monstrous outcasts of 
mankind as the Sixtuses, the Leos, the Csesars and the 
Alexanders- The "morality" of crude strangulators, the 
"morality" of sadists, the "morality" of the Jesuits, the 
"morality" of the erotomaniacs who invented the adoration 
of the "Virgin Mary,' 1 the "morality" of hangmen, strangu- 
lators of science, the "morality" of the filthy casuists, of 
the greedy usurers — oh, thrice cursed be that "morality" ! 

This is the "morality" of slave-holders enraged to the point 
of fury; it is the "morality" of "infuriated store-keepers" 
who would shrink before nothing in defense of their "own' 
(stolen) possessions, in defense of the old world, which is 
"oozing blood and filth" from every pore ; it is the morality 
of those who would attack everything new, rob the op- 
pressed, persecute and cruelly smother all the living forces 
of mankind. 

They have played a big game, the papal gentlemen : a world 
game! Their agents, their Jesuit fathers, their missionaries, 
their emissaries, roamed everywhere : they accompanied the 
robbing expeditions of the Spanish and Portuguese bandits 
in America and India; they penetrated Africa, China, pre- 
paring colonial enslavement; they utilized every possible 
method ; they directly participated in the slaughter ; they 
burned and killed whole settlements of the "heathen"; they 
pretended to be semi-"heathen" themselves (for instance, 
Brahmins in India) in order to creep into the confidence 
of people of different faiths (the dispute over the so-called 
"Chinese" and "Malabar" customs) ; they lied and simu- 
lated; they organized "crusades" and commercial expedi- 
tions, bringing back with them hatred of the natives and 
syphilis, from which several popes were among the first to rot. 

From the notes of an agent of the world famous German 
firm of the -Welsers, in Augusburg, one by the name of Bal- 
thasar Sprenger, who participated in the Portuguese expedi- 
tion of Almeda (1505), we have a colorful description of 
the functional role of Christianity: 

"On August 13th we arrived at the harbor of Mombassa 
. . . .the natives were hostile to us . . but with the aid of 



Christ our Saviour ... . we drove them out of' their fort and 
to the very city. . . With God's help, quite a number of 
the heathens perished, while on our side only two were killed. 
. . . We began to introduce order and to prepare for plunder 
(als wir nur unser ordenung in der stat geschickt und uns 
zu plendem gerust hatten) , . . we first placed guards and 
watchmen and then we began to plunder and we found great 
wealth which it is not possible to enumerate. Eternal grati- 
tude, honor and worship to God! ... . All together we had ten 
boats when we captured the city; the eleventh boat arrived 
later in ^deplorable state. The name of this boat was 
"Raphael." Generally speaking, the German merchants had 
three boats: "Saint Hieronimus/' "Samt Raphael" and 
'Saint Leongard"~zn& all of them participated in all the 
expeditions and battles' ' (emphasis ours. N. B.). 

Here is an excerpt from a note by Hans Mayer, written 
in Portuguese about a battle with the Moors: " 

"The doors were locked ; we broke them in, but the whole 
place proved empty. , . . The entire city was occupied with- 
out any resistance. . . . The Franciscans erected a cross 
while the Admiral occupied a house next to this cross. As 
to the crew, it busied itself with plundering (se meteo a 
roubar) the goods and stores of this rich city." 

The seas of blood shed iby the "most humble" Roman 
popes are immense. The Pope wishes now to place one 
more predatory gem in his tiara; he blows the horn and 
calls for a new crusade. But it is not good for him to 
shout about morals. The morals of the popes are monstrous. 
It is not good for him to shout about science. The popes 
are the strangulators of science. It is not good for him to 
shout about "peoples." The popes are the hangmen of peo- 
ples. At the threshold of the twentieth century, one of the 
nearest predecessors of the present pope, Pius IX, in his 
famous encyclical of December, 1864, took a decisive stand 
against the "errors of this age"; he thundered and stormed 
against placing reason above revelation, he cursed the opin- 
ion that the will of the people is the highest law; he asserted 
that those outside of the flock that is shepherded by the pope, 
cannot hope for "salvation." He thundered against every 
kind of democracy; he revealed himself such an advocate 
of darkness; such an obscurantist, such a partisan of the 


Black Hundred, such a retrograd, such a hangman of 
thought, reason and science that even Thiers, in his Dis- 
courses on the Roman Question ("Discours sur la question 
Romaine") declared that he was "sorry" that the encyclical 
had been issued. And now another pope by the name of 
Pius dares step forth in defense of science! You are not 
yet satisfied, papal gentlemen, with the rows of corpses which 
press on your conscience! You are not satisfied with your 
"infallible" declarations, encyclicals, bulls, in which you 
appeal against the "presumption of reason" and for "revela- 
tion," i, e. for the ancient fables and old myths, corrected 
and augmented by the falsifiers from among the papal 
clientele ! We shall be against you and for science : for the 
multiplication table as against the doctrine of the trinity; 
for chemistry as against the doctrine of the holy com- 
munion; for biology as against the myths of the immaculate 
conception; for Darwinism as against the silly story about 
Eve created from Adam's rib; for the recognition of your 
perversions as against the doctrine of your infallibility; for 
truth as against papal deception; for the working class of the 
whole world as against capitalist slavery, and against the 
defender of this slavery, the pope. Your threats are empty 
incitements. The world-historic line of development lies 
on our side. 

It is a highly characteristic fact that there was a time 
when Pius XI moderated his anti-Bolshevik passions. ^ The 
secret of it was not so long ago revealed by a "civilized" 
secret service man of the German General Staff, the well- 
known journalist and contributor to the Berliner Tageblatt, 
Mr. Paul Schaefer: 

"The form of the Greek Orthodox Church," he says, "was 
shattered by the 1917 Revolution. Had not the moment 
arrived when the two great Christian communities, after 
a thousand years old schism, could be reunited, since one 
of them had apparently remained without leadership? . . . 
The hope that the road to the Soviet State would prove free, 
must 'be considered as the prime motive for the tolerant and 
patient attiude of Pius XI towards the Bolshevist regime. 
Now this hope is apparently dead and buried while the 
Soviet State exists." 

" - ■ - : - ■' - - ' r • 


Hence the papal offensive. 13 

But even this is not the whole story. 

The papal power, in its development, has passed througn 
many phases. Being a feudal organization, it amalgamated 
with trading capital ; it kept the closest friendship with the 
largest trading firms of the world, like the famous house 
of the Fuggers. It participated, directly and indirectly, in 
the piratical colonial expeditions for trade purposes; the 
Catholic priestly robe, together with the Catholic cross, 
accompanied the notorious killers and desperadoes of trading 
capital in their expeditions and bloody adventures beyond 
the seas. Papal power took a stand against the French rev- 
olution and its repercussions, but Napoleon Bonaparte, who 
cared little about God, made short shrift of Pope Pius VII, 
arresting him, imprisoning him, forcing him to sign con- 
cordats according to whch everything was radically changed ; 
the Government, spitting in the face of' the popes, appointed 
bishops at its own discretion. Changes in the historical 
process reflected themselves more than once upon the des- 
tinies of the popes. Sometimes they had a very narrow 
escape, as was the case with Pope Pius IX, who shamefully 
ran away from his Godly possessions in 1848. After the 
period of revolution had passed, however, he returned to his 
hearth, and the papal throne once more 'became a support 
for the general European reaction. With the growth of the 
labor movement, the Pope openly raised the banner of strug- 
gle against Socialism and Communism, of struggle against 
the revolutionary labor movement, thus earning more and 
more the recognition of the bourgeoisie. As early as 1846 
(in the encyclical, Qui pluribus) Pope Pius IX hurled him- 
self against the Communists, at the same time attacking 
other "secret societies." In the encyclical of 1864 (Quanta 
cur a) the pope again declared war against Communism, and 
in the so-called Syllabus he cursed it as a pest. Leo XIII, 
in the encyclical of December 28, 1878, which is especially 
devoted to "modern errors/' sharply attacks "Socialism, 
Communism and nihilism," defending with every possible 
means the sacred property rights of the capitalists and land- 

13 Berliner TageblfiH t 1930, No. 76. 

V:.— - 


owners. Papacy thus becomes one of the fundamental forces 
which the bourgeoisie advances against the proletariat. In 
recent times the organization of the Gatholic Church has 
amalgamated with the organizations of finance capital. The 
popes have long possessed banking houses, estates, industrial 
enterprises. Today, even in Protestant Germany, the heavy 
industry and the banks are intimately connected with the 
Vatican. In Italy itself, the papacy is a large share-holder 
in banks, and secretly maintains a number of institutions, 
including cinemas. The Vatican knows what it is doing. 
There was a time when it counteracted in every possible 
way the national unification of Italy and was directly at war 
against the national revolutionary battalions of Garibaldi. 
Today it has formed a bloc with Mussolini, who for the 
greater glory of national counter-revolution is ready to 
reduce the working class to the role of working cattle housed 
in a not-very -well-appointed stable. The union, of the Holy 
See with the fascist clique, this revolutionary, aggressive, 
thoroughly anti-proletarian arid militant counter-revolution 
serves as a splendid shining symbol of the fact that the pon- 
tiff and supreme ruler "of the Catholic Church has become 
the chief fighter in the forefront of world counter-revolution. 

The banner of the pope is the banner of capitalist counter- 
revolution, the banner of oppressing the workers and the 
poor of all countries, the banner of war against the workers 
and peasants of the USSR, the banner of new bloody bat- 
tles in the name of capital. 

The people of the Union are molding one-sixth of the 
earth's surface in a new way. They have raised with a 
daring hand the banner of great work, great rebuilding of 
our country. They have firmly decided, with the proletariat 
at their head and under the leadership of its Party, to rebuild 
their technique and their economy, their every-day life and 
their science, to create a new sunlit life. They have over- 
thrown the landowners and the capitalists. They have over- 
thrown the Whites and the interventionists. They have 
wiped out epidemics and famine. They are marching ahead 
against the old forms of economy. They are nurturing a 
new socialist industry, and they radically reorganize the life 
of the village. They throw off their shoulders the ages-old 
superstitions; out of the stuffy holes of superstition, witch- 



ery and quackery they step forth to the broad path of build- 
ing a new socialist society where there shall be neither 
capitalists nor exploitation, neither popes nor priests! This 
is zuhy the popes prepare a new crusade. This is why the 
entire" camp of slave-holders and ruling sharpers, specula- 
tors and traders in human blood is astir. 

For this very reason the great armies of the workers of 
all countries, the international army of defenders of the pro- 
letarian dictatorship, will take the stand against the armies 
of capital and its papal Jesuits. '■ 

For this very reason the reactionary appeal of the Pope 
and his archbishops calling for a crusade against the USSR 
will be met with a revolutionary appeal of the workers of 
all countries: Down with Capitalism 1 Down with the Pope 
and all his archbishops ! 


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